Ohio State’s depth chart for the game Saturday night at Nebraska has been released. Normally, there isn’t always something big to talk about. Normally, however, there isn’t usually one player returning from suspension, another missing the first half due to suspension, a starter lost for the season due to injury, and two other starters possibly ready to return from their own injuries.
The first place we will start is with the return of fifth-year senior nose tackle Michael Hill. Hill is not listed on the depth chart, but defensive coordinator Greg Schiano confirmed that he will be back on Saturday. How much he will play is still in question, and it may not be all that much just yet.
Dre’Mont Jones returns to the depth chart this week, and he should also return to the field. So far, everything is going as designed following a significant cut on Jones’ leg a couple of weeks ago.
“So far so good,” Schiano said on Tuesday. “We’ll see. I don’t know what that means by the end of the week. But what we asked him to do today, he looked good. So we’ll just keep going step by step.”
While one side of the line of scrimmage is getting a boost this weekend against Nebraska, the other side of the Ohio State line of scrimmage is scrambling to fill a major void left by right guard Branden Bowen’s broken leg.
Urban Meyer has said there will be a competition this week to replace Bowen.
“It’s open,” he said on Tuesday. “It’s wide open. There are three people right now in the running for it. Malcolm Pridgeon, Matt Burrell, and Demetrius Knox.”
The depth chart below lists Burrell and Knox with an OR at right guard, while Pridgeon is still behind Jordan at left guard. Burrell is the favorite here, but he was also the favorite to win the job in fall camp. Consistency has been an issue for him, but that is the same issue for all non-starters.
Chris Worley and Tuf Borland are again listed as ORs at middle linebacker. They were last week as well, but Worley didn’t play against Maryland even though he warmed up and was out at midfield for the coin toss. Expect him to play this week, unless they again hold him out early to see if they can blow out another opponent and save him one more time.
At safety, senior Erick Smith has reappeared after missing the last two games. That doesn’t mean he will play this week, it just means that he is back on the depth chart. He has lost his OR with Jordan Fuller, who has started every game this season at strong safety.
Because of Damon Arnette’s targeting penalty last week in the second half of the game, he must miss the first half of Saturday’s game. As such, Kendall Sheffield is now listed as the starter above him. Even though Denzel Ward’s targeting penalty was a mistake, he was never in danger of missing the first half of this game as his penalty occurred in the first half against Maryland.
With the Buckeyes down to just two starting corners in the first half, freshman Jeff Okudah will step in to fill out the rotation just as he did last week. Watch how he plays this week because he may become a staple in the rotation for the rest of the season.